With only four soaps left on the air, there are very few legends left on soaps. Days of Our Lives has Deidre Hall, The Young and the Restless has Melody Thomas Scott–and General Hospital has–or should we say HAD–Genie Francis.
In fact, it could be argued that soaps are still around because of Genie Francis, a woman who spent her teenage years in the spotlight revitalizing the genre as one half of the most famous soap pair of all time–Luke and Laura.
Francis has been on the covers of TV Guide, Newsweek, and countless soap opera magazines. Her character inspired two hit pop songs in the 1980s and she’s never demonstrated anything except class and grace through the decades she’s been a household name that’s transcended daytime drama.
In fact, she created more than one memorable soap character during her time in show biz, including the popular Diana Colville on Days of Our Lives. To learn through reports over the weekend that her storyline was abruptly dropped–along with her contract–so this television legend can do about a dozen shows a year is practical soap blasphemy.
Something just felt off on Friday’s air show as we watched Laura rip down her campaign posters in her quest to become Port Charles’ next mayor.
We kept waiting for a way for Kevin to change her mind, but in the end Laura was off to Europe to tend to grandson, Spencer, who had broken both legs.
It left us with a weird feeling, knowing Francis’ contractual vacation was over the summer, not in December or January. It also left us deflated because Ned and Laura battling it out for mayor was actually a good story. It felt character-driven, and also played on the show’s history. That is, after all, how to do good soap opera.
And suddenly, Laura is gone, and if she ever comes back for even 12 episodes a year is anyone’s guess. Soap Central reports that Francis is devastated by this blow and doesn’t even want to do the handful of shows.
And, who can blame her? The actress built this soap, and no matter how much she’d come and go through the years, she was always welcome and a breath of fresh air. For nearly three years, we’ve had Laura back on a regular basis and Port Charles felt like home for that sole reason.
Can you imagine DAYS doing this to Hall or Y&R doing this to Thomas-Scott? No. Those shows seem to know who the fans want and need around because they define a soap.
Genie Francis and Laura define General Hospital, and from the fan reaction Soap Hub has received since the news of GH letting her go broke, the soap might experiences some serious backlash very soon. And when backlash is from the fans, it’s the most critical and consequential backlash of all.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.